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Adequate Staffing During Labor Delivery Boosts Outcomes

Findings link nursing care to skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding, recovery care

woman in labor

FRIDAY, Oct. 23, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Adequate nursing resources during labor and birth aid maternal and infant health outcomes, according to a study published in the September/October issue of the American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing.

Kathleen Rice Simpson, Ph.D., from Mercy Hospital Saint Louis, and colleagues used the Perinatal Misscare Survey of 512 labor and birth nurses from 36 hospitals in three states to assess missed nursing care and their maternity units' adherence to the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN 2010) nurse staffing guidelines for care during labor and birth.

The researchers found that the mean exclusive breast milk feeding rate was 53 percent (range, 13 to 76 percent). On average, skin-to-skin care, breastfeeding within one hour of birth, and appropriate recovery care were occasionally missed (2.33 to 2.46 on a 4-point scale). Adherence with overall staffing guidelines was associated with the Joint Commission Perinatal Care Measure (PC-05). PC-05 was independently predicted by missed nursing care when adjusting for staffing guideline adherence, perceived quality, mean age of respondents, and nurse burnout.

"The hospital leadership team may be able to improve the health of newborns in their communities by investing in nursing care during labor and birth that is consistent with the AWHONN (2010) nurse staffing guidelines," the authors write.

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